Clear Spring Church congregation responds to fire - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Clear Spring Church congregation responds to fire

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

SMITH COUNTY. TX (KLTV) - Two churches were targeted with fire Monday night. The first was Dover Baptist Church near Lindale. The second church was Clear Spring Missionary Baptist. That's another small country church located off County Road 246 - just a few miles from Dover Baptist.

Congregation members are asking for your prayers to help them get through this.

"[It's a] small country church with a lot of love," said Pastor Brandon Owens.

But now, Clear Spring Missionary Baptist Church is gone after being a beacon more than 120 years.

"To burn the Lord's house, they must be sick," said Willie Friend. "That church been there a long long time, and for this to happen like this it's just a disgrace."

Friend's family is buried behind the church and her kids grew up in the area.

"I have six kids and they all were baptized here at Clear Spring," said Friend.

Seeing it in ruins is almost unbearable.

"Oh my heart go, I mean, I get lumps now," said Senior Deacon Bennie Woods. "It's like losing a little one. You know, why? But then again, why not? The Lord said he wouldn't put no more on you than you can bear."

Woods was greeted Tuesday morning by some unexpected visitors: little children who emptied their piggy banks, giving what they had.

"They said they wanted to be the first to put the first money on the new building each one of them had an envelope with their coins," said Woods.

It may not be much money, but the children's gifts mean much more, showing love and offering hope.

"I can't explain it," said Woods. "If a child, if it bothers a child like that, how can a grown person be so hard on it. The church didn't do anything to them."

Pastor Owens has a message to whoever is behind the church burnings.

"Please stop whatever you're doing," he said. "Even if you don't get caught, the judgement day will come again when you will have to pay for it...I really want them to know that they are really not hurting us at all as a congregation. They may have hurt the materialistic things that we have, but they actually have helped us. [They] have drawn us together. It has actually blessed us to be on one accord."

Pastor Owens says their congregation will still meet to worship Sunday morning. They are still deciding on a location.

Copyright 2009 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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